HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez spoke with FOX 26 exclusively Friday about a growing problem, street racing, takeovers, and stunts.
The department is now dedicating a team to crackdown.
FOX 26 spoke with one man who was in an illegal car scene.
“A year ago, they weren’t really out there looking for us, but recently they’ve really ramped up and started to catch us. It’s definitely underground you have to know people to get in.”
Many within the street culture will speak but anonymously, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales said, this is somewhat of an underground culture.
“They operate underground, figuratively in the sense that they have their own way of communicating and determining where they are going to meet up,” said Gonzalez. “I wish that there was just a greater appreciation that we are just trying to protect all members of the public, including them at the end of the day.”
The man we spoke with anonymously said, part of the thrill of it all is to being chased by police, even the idea of potentially getting hurt.
“I know one guy who had his car totaled and had to be cut out by the fire department. That’s kinda actually the fun, the thrill of getting hurt.”
Gonzalez said he’s starting to hear even more outrage from community members all over the county.
Business owners in West Harris County off of 24600 Katy Freeway have had to pay $12,000 dollars in damages to their parking lots because of these illegal activities.
“We want the community to be aware of what we are dealing with,” said Gonzalez. “These are meet-ups where they are they are gambling and racing speeds upwards of a 100 mph, I’ve seen people killed spectators can be hurt.”
The unit is already hard at work as the sheriff tweeted that three cars have been impounded and will possibly be seized. All the defendants are under the age of 21.
He hopes that they see what’s at risk and that they can come to a mutual understanding.
“I hope that there can be a mutual respect here at the end of the day,” said Gonzalez.